Formula Student 2015

Students Work with E3.series to Reduce Electrical Faults in Formula Student Entry Car

With electrical faults being the biggest reason for failure in the Formula Student car entries, the University of Wolverhampton Formula Student team decided to up their game on the harness design of the 2016 entry car, by working with E3.series for the design of the vehicle’s wire harness.

Two student engineers and 10 weeks in between studies

Last week I had the pleasure of joining Wolverhampton’s Formula Student team (find out more about Formula Student here), headed up by principle technician motorsport manager Nick Skidmore. Relatively new to the circuit, this is UWRacing’s second year in the Formula Student competition. The design and manufacture of the wire harness is down to two second-year degree students Nasir Garba and Andrew Bradshaw.  They recently decided that in order to up their game, designing using professional wire harness design software was the way forward. With about 10 weeks until the race, the pressure is on to get to grips with E3.cable and E3.formboard, and create a harness that can put them in the running for a decent ranking. I’m checking in with the team in the next few weeks to catch up on their progress – no pressure Nasir and Andy (cough cough).

2015 adapted road bike harness

They will be making a big jump from last year’s harness, which was a road bike harness stripped down and then extended. By all accounts, harnesses on some of the vehicles are pretty basic and a little dare I say it…dangerous. In that context, the bike harness got them through the initial inspection, but the team scored no points for documentation and change history. Unlike the 2016 entry, which should be on another level – designed for purpose, with full traceability (component selection and history), not to mention reduced time involved in design and fabrication. Which right now is rather important given the time pressures.

Underlying motives

While at the university Nick explained to me how all the students are doing this activity in their own time, with people coming from across engineering disciplines including motorsport engineering, mechatronics, automotive, mechanical engineering and even civil engineering.

I asked Nasir why he wanted to be involved in Formula Student.

“It’s the experience of working together as a multidisciplinary team that drew me to compete. You don’t get that in any other way at the graduate level. This gives me an advantage over other graduates when I’ve finished my degree,”  he commented.

For someone who has grown up fascinated with electronics, taking things apart and rebuilding them, this is Nasir’s chance to start to make his mark in the engineering world.

Harness fabrication

During my trip to the University of Wolverhampton Nick took me out to meet Mike Tickner at HCI Systems, a specialist harness manufacturer with expertise in the autosport field, who is working with the Formula Student engineers to support them in the design and fabrication of their harness.

He showed me the difference between an autosport wire harness, with its Contra-helically laid cables, repair loops and securely housed connectors, compared to the relatively cheap-to fabricate standard automotive harnesses that don’t have to be manufactured to withstand such levels of vibration. That’s not to say their design is any less important; just that the intricacies involved in each individual harness differ.

Mike will be supporting Andy and Nasir over the next few months as they get to grips with harness design in E3.series.

I’ll be back relatively soon with an update on their progress. In the meantime why not check out the 2015 Formula Student intro movie and follow the team on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for full updates.


This blog post to brought to you by Dionne Hayman, Zuken marketing specialist based in the UK.

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